Technology geeks are eagerly awaiting the official launch of Apple’s iWatch. Morgan Stanley estimates as many as 60 million units of the wearable device will be sold at US$300 each.
Tech firms worldwide are quite bullish about the prospects of the wearable device market. Lenovo (00992.HK), Xiaomi and Taiwan-based Asus are all said to be launching their own products shortly.
Lenovo will roll out its smart glasses as early as the next quarter. The group has just filed for the patent of the product in the United States and China.
Meanwhile, sources close to Xiaomi told Chengdu Daily that the firm will reveal its first wearable gadget along with its latest handset model, Xiaomi 4, within months. Xiaomi has teamed up with photography service provider Camera360 to jointly develop wearable devices.
Even e-commerce giant Amazon is jumping on the wearable bandwagon. The firm has reportedly poached Babak Parviz from Google. Parviz had helped develop Google Glasses.
But most consumers are not yet sharing the industry’s excitement as the lack of practical uses for these wearable devices offers no compelling case to own them.
Let’s take smart watch as an example. Many big brands including Samsung, Sony and Nike have introduced their versions of the device, but consumers are not rushing to the market.
Liu Xiangming, publisher of mainland magazine Business Value, tells of his personal experience. After his initial excitement, Liu noticed he was hardly using his smart watch. “The alarm clock is the only function that I always use,” he said.
Liu felt that other than the alarm clock function, the other functions are not practical enough. “You can use the watch to scan the barcode printed on the food package in order to obtain calories intake information. But as the data base is poor, the function failed most of the time.”
“Also, the watch can monitor your sleeping condition while you’re asleep by sending data to your phone via Bluetooth, but that is extremely energy-consuming,” he noted.
According to US-based market research firm Endeavour Partners, a third of the Americans stopped using their wearable devices after six months.
The message is clear: For these wearable devices to become smartphone-like hits, makers have to come up with something better, rather than just gimmicks.
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